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When Your Insistence on Customer Service Becomes a Disservice

September 25, 2017

How many of your lives would be easier if you simply had more day-to-day help? And, how many of you would sign up in a heartbeat if that day-to-day help didn’t cost you anything? I know, a no-brainer right?

Now, let’s switch it up a bit. How many of you are guilty of telling your clients, “If you have any questions about anything, if you need anything, if you are even thinking about having questions about needing anything, call me. I’m your guy/gal. Don’t mess with the carriers, call me.”

And, how many of you complain that you can’t grow your business because you have too many service issues?

I know you have the best of intentions when you tell your clients to call you directly with every one of their questions or concerns, but you’re mostly doing them a disservice.

What do they really want?

Be honest. When a client has a problem or simply a question, what do they want most?

If you’re tuned into your client’s real desires, you didn’t answer, “For me to fix it.” If you really understand what they want, you answered, “A quick and accurate answer.”

For 90%+ of the questions/problems a client has, the carrier’s dedicated service team is both the fastest and most accurate place to go for the answer. For just about any question your client has, the service rep at the carrier’s 800 number has probably already answered that question 10 times that day.

And, if the client calls you, you are most likely going to turn around and call the same service center (or maybe a broker-dedicated rep in the same call center) and get the same answer, but you’ve made the process of getting an answer longer than necessary.

Plus, if the answer ends up being something the client doesn’t like and it “came from you," guess who they now associate with that answer they don’t like? Here’s a hint. They look a lot like you.

Why?

I can only imagine a couple of reasons why you would take this approach. Either you don’t trust the carriers to answer your clients’ questions or, more likely, you think this demonstrates value to your clients.

Neither of those make sense. If you can’t trust the carrier to answer the day-to-day questions associated with their own product, should you really be placing your clients with them? And, if this is your greatest opportunity to demonstrate value to your clients, you need to improve your value proposition.

I know you and your team have much more significant opportunities to help your clients and the time you spend dealing with day-to-day service issues is keeping much of that from being delivered.

Set the right expectations from the beginning

Let your clients know you choose your carrier partners carefully and leverage their strengths when it makes sense for your clients. Explain that when it comes to day-to-day service issues/questions, your carrier partners provide a dedicated service team. Tell them that if they use the 800 number on the back of their ID card, they will reach someone who has most likely answered the same question 10 times that day alone.

And, then let them know if, by chance, they don’t get an answer that makes sense or are not getting a timely answer, that the second call should always be to your team. Explain that when all of your clients use the carriers to deal with level-1 issues that they will always have immediate access to your team when issues move to level-2.

Inefficiencies cost you and your clients

Now more than ever, it is critical for you to run your agency in as efficient a manner as possible. Don’t take on work that can be done by someone else, especially when having it done by someone else better serves the needs and interests of your clients.

Let the carriers deal with those day-to-day service issues so that you and your team are available to work on issues that move your client’s business forward.

 

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Insurance Agency Marketing Assessment

Kevin Trokey

Written by Kevin Trokey

Kevin Trokey is a coach and an implementer of business strategies. He works with agency leadership, department managers, and producers of benefits agencies to craft strategies and lead them to successful transformations by breaking down the complexity into manageable steps.

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